Leonen: What's the harm in allowing same-sex couples to marry?

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 26 2018 05:01 PM

Supreme Court Associate Justice Marvic Leonen and Solicitor General Jose Calida. Composite

MANILA- What is the harm in allowing same-sex couples to marry?

This was the question raised by Supreme Court Associate Justice Marvic Leonen during the resumption of oral arguments on a petition seeking to allow same-sex marriage in the country on Tuesday.

"What is so wrong with heterosexual couples living with people whose happiness is to have same-sex partnerships? What is so wrong with that?" he asked during his interpellation of Solicitor General Jose Calida.

Calida is arguing for the dismissal of the petition filed by lawyer Jesus Nicardo Falcis III, which sought to declare as unconstitutional portions of the Family Code of the Philippines which "define and limit marriage as between man and woman."

Responding to Leonen's questions, Calida explained that the 1987 Constitution limits marriage between a man and a woman only.

"They can live together happily ever after but they cannot insist that they should be allowed to marry and [that] is in our present law and our Constitution," Calida said.

Leonen pressed on and asked: "What is the harm in allowing them to marry?"

"The harm your honor is that the Constitution and our laws do not sanction such marriage," Calida responded.

Petitioner claimed that the State's charter does not provide any gender restrictions when it comes to marriage.

"There is absolutely no language in the 1987 Constitution or any of the previous constitutions that imposes a gender restriction in order for Filipinos to exercise their right to marry," lawyer Darwin Angeles, co-counsel of Falcis told the high court last week.

Calida during his opening statement, argued that the state is not violating anyone's rights in limiting marriage between a man and a woman only, saying the "ultimate goal" of any marriage is procreation through natural "sexual cooperation."

"The State’s limitation of the definition of marriage as a union between only a man and a woman under the Family Code is a valid exercise of police power," he said.